Architect Samuel Mockbee believed in building better homes for poor people in Alabama’s rural Black Belt.
The Rural Studio he started at Auburn University in 1993 with architecture professor D.K. Ruth used students’ talent and energy to match practical skills with creative ideas, not only developing innovative designs, but seeing their construction through to the end.
Mockbee died in 2001, but the Rural Studio lives on, and his legacy has been memorialized in a documentary airing next week on public television. Musician Jake Fussell, a Columbus native, performed the score.
Exactly when the hour-long film will air, however, depends on where you live and which public TV station you get.
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On Alabama Public Television, “Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio” will be broadcast Monday at 9 p.m. CDT (10 p.m. Eastern). Area residents are invited to a showing that night in the auditorium of Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art, where the program will be preceded by a 7 p.m. CDT reception and 8 p.m. CDT panel discussion.
Columbus residents planning to watch the documentary on Georgia Public Broadcasting will have to wait a few days – until late Wednesday when “Citizen Architect” will air at 11:30 p.m. EDT, according to GPB.
Mockbee’s Rural Studio gained international attention and earned a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. His son-in-law, Sam Wainwright Douglas, a 1998 graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, produced and directed the documentary. Douglas has taught video editing in Texas and recently worked on the film “Along Came Kinky: Texas Jewboy for Governor,” about eccentric musician, writer and humorist Kinky Friedman’s 2006 run for governor. That movie’s to be released next year.